Cleveland Municipal Light plant sign, 1962
Even for Cleveland Public Power customers accustomed to random, frequent outages, this past week was plagued with more annoyances than usual. Once again, businesses on the near west side had to shut their doors early, folks had to go to bed in silence without the sweet sounds of Jim and Pam lulling them to sleep via Netflix, and, generally, life was disrupted, again.
CPP had outages on the west side of the river not once, not twice but three times in the past seven days — Saturday, Monday and Wednesday night.
Prevailing assumptions aside — that CPP is straight garbage and probably fixes stuff with twine and tape — it’s helpful to know exactly what went wrong, even if it doesn’t change the fact that the service provider once again failed to provide service.
Thankfully, ace utilities reporter and Cleveland city councilman Kerry McCormack is on the case. Here’s what he gleaned and shared to constituents:
For the outages on Saturday and Monday: A large tree limb hit two main electrical lines at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which essentially connected the two lines and shorted a number of feeder lines leading to outages throughout the west side. This included two lines that “wrapped” or connected at the W. 41st St. Substation. The tree limb on the lines at the Zoo was not found until Monday, which is why there was an outage on Saturday and Monday. This issue has been resolved and tree trimming crews are currently working in the zoo to clear additional power lines.
For the outages last night: Last night at 8:12pm an automated alarm sounded on a 69 KV Transformer (a large electrical load transformer) at the west 41st substation. Due to this abnormal and serious alarm, CPP crews shut it down at 8:45 as a precaution. At 9:20 residents were restored to service. Currently the crews are working to find out why the alarm went off and to fix any issues. This 69KV Transformer is one of three transformers that feeds from the W. 41st st. Substation to the Near West Side and accounts for approximately 6,000 customers. Because the other 2 transformers were still online, only some people in the neighborhood lost power. I’ve asked that if CPP is going to shut off the power for any reason that they must notify me and the community in advance.
The city-owned utility is currently under city council’s microscope and, separately but relatedly, dealing with the release of a consultant’s report that says its equipment is out-dated, that its 70,000 customers pay more for their electricity than the going market rate, and that to compete in the future CPP will have to continue to raise its rates. Also, a court ruled recently a class action lawsuit over $180 million in “environmental adjustment fees” can proceed.
Anyway, that’s why your power was out.
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